Sunday 25 March 2018

Cannon Netting Barnacle Geese

John and I set off at 5am in the morning to north Donegal at Trawbreaga Bay to join a large group of ringers and helpers in the hopes of catch some of the wintering Barnacle Geese. The aim was to colour ring a number of Barnacle Geese as part of a larger study of the Greenland breeding population. The species has also colonised southern Iceland and increasing in numbers. Thousands of Barnacle Geese winter in North-western and western Ireland including Sligo and in this area of Donegal. Exeter University lead on many of the studies of geese in the UK and Ireland and were on hand with others from all over Ireland including Kerry, Wexford and other spots. Kendrew of the RSPB NI will be handling and processing all subsequent resightings of the colour ringed birds.

Barnacle Goose
The site had been baited and watched for a week prior and up to 1200 Barnacle Geese have been visiting the fields and walking in and around the dummy nets. That morning we sat in wait as the Geese started arriving for a morning feed having roosted on one of the small offshore islands. They were appearing in groups of 5-50 before the main flock appeared with almost 500 birds taking us to 900+ in the field. We were restricted to 200 metal and colour rings and that was the rough aim with the large team of 27 people in place to deal with them. Around 200 birds had been captured by the net but a portion managed to slip out before the team arrived to extract the birds.


 Releasing the first processed birds
At the end of play, still in the morning, round 155 birds were processed with 5/6 birds having been caught previously. All birds were colour ringed with biometrics and feather samples taken. It was a great experience with much learned and we were very impressed by the efficient catch, process and release of such a number of large birds. 

No comments:

Post a Comment